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Game Review: Earth Defense Force 2017

Let me get something out in the air: while I am a fan of Japan, its culture, food, history, impact on gaming and animation, etc. I do not like Japanocentricity. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, watch or play anything from Japan: does that game or show take place in Japan? Japanocentricity is the focus that everything happens in Japan. For example take the cartoon/manga Bleach. The Soul Society/After Life takes place in a place that looks like Japan, with soul reapers all having Japanese garb and wielding katanas. That means if you’re from Belgium, and you die, you end up in Japan.

In the game Earth Defense Force 2017, Earth is being invaded by Aliens and you have to defend, guess what, Japan (You know what Japan, you might as well call it Japan Defense Force). Now I will admit that we as Americans have a very Americancentric outlook. Most of us don’t even know or care about the EU. However lets quickly compare the United States and Japan: America has a total area of 9,826,630 km^2; Japan has 377,873. America has a population of 303,915,000; Japan has 127,433,494. Granted Japan has a large population crammed into that tiny island chain, but come on, if you were invading earth, would you try to take out the dominant government with the third largest area and produces a ton of resources and food stock, or would you try to take out a tiny island with no real strategic value whatsoever? Somehow everyone always picks Japan.

Aside from this issue, the game is actually fantastic. It may seem like an updated N64/Playstation era game, for $20 and 2 player co-op, who are you to complain. This is a run and gun type game against hordes of enemies, most of which are either giant ants or spiders. Oh, this game is freaky, especially when you have to go into the caves where the aliens are breeding. But with unlimited ammo, you should have no problem dealing with the waves of enemy hordes.

Basically you (and your buddy because this game is great with co-op) choose two weapons and go out to stop the aliens. You start with a basic Assault Rifle and Grenade, and each level enemies drop weapon crates which unlock new weapons, which have stats like range, magazine, rate of fire, accuracy (based on the Japanese S+ to F scale), and reload time. Weapon types include Assault Rifles (large magazine, B+ to S+ aim), shotguns, rocket launchers, sniper rifles, grenades and grenade launchers, and special weapons (which include missile launchers and sniper turrets). Our choice: we unlocked an Assault Rifle that had S+ Accuracy and a huge rate of fire. It didn’t do the most damage, but it would lock up enemies (who freeze when they get hit). Other than that, there was a powerful rocket launcher and sniper rifle we were fond of, as well as some nifty grenades.

The enemies are pretty limited, but come in huge swarms. The first type are giant ants who spit acid at you from their ass/thorax. Then flying craft shaped like mechanical wasps that our ultra-powerful sniper rifle could take out in one shot. The Mr. X type enemy are giant robots with huge guns. These were the things are Assault Rifle would freeze in its tracks. But what about the bugs? Here come the jumping giant tarantulas that shoot web, which causes continual damage. There’s also Scarab rip offs, only bigger, and that’s about as far as we got.

But were forgetting other nifty features, like the environment is destructible. You usually fight in cities, with Giant bugs crawling all over buildings. Well, not a problem. Launch a missile at one, and *boom* bugs and building bits fly through the air. A fence in your way? Just shoot it and continue to back pedal to safety. There are a few vehicles, like a tank, a speed bike, and a mech suit. The Bike is fast, but its weapon is pointless. Its only good for grabbing Weapon and Armor Crates (which give you more health, by the way). The Tank is fast and great for taking out swaths of bugs, or pushing your partner around the map faster. The mech has jumpjets, and three types of weapons. Also takes 20 minutes to turn.

So, this game has customization, destructible environments, coop, killin’ lots o’ bugs, over 50 levels, oh, and the other soldier npcs are worth it alone for their dialogue. Wait for gems like
Soldier1: Somebody cover me!
Soldier2: Do it yourself!

Again, for $20, you can’t go wrong with this game.

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